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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Medical
  • Language:English
  • Pages:281
  • eBook ISBN:9780985869359

German Healer

Healthcare Under Apartheid

by Aurel Emilian Mircea, M.D. View author's profile page

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This novel brings to light the South African medical brotherhood that developed among physicians from all over the world. At the peak of the Apartheid’s universal healthcare coverage, they had to undergo a crash course in traumatology, obstetrics and orthopedics resulting in many saved lives. Bound by the Hippocratic Oath, the doctors gave their best professional skills to everyone, anytime, anywhere while on duty and off duty. They cared equally well for the Bantu majority, European white minority and the Indian, Asians and Colored people. Despite many limited personal freedoms inscribed into the law of the land, the medical brotherhood enjoyed access to the most advanced medical technology. Attracted by its wonderful climate and great individual prosperity, doctors from all over the world immigrated to South Africa. There, they have found unique opportunities to enhance their practical knowledge, in the shortest period, unlike anywhere else in the world. Subsequently, the evolving medical brotherhood enjoyed a great professional success and an equivalently rewarding income. This novel is homage to the doctors from Far East Rand Hospital in Springs, Transvaal. Hard work and sleepless nights did not prevent them from healing their critically ill black or white patients. When the political turmoil in the region hit a new peak, the medical brotherhood supported each other all the way in the relocation to the USA and other British Commonwealth countries. All they have left behind were great memories and unique African experiences, never mentioned in any medical textbooks, nor encountered anywhere else on Earth.


German Healer “Healthcare under Apartheid” Dr. Koch visited the South African Embassy in Bonn, ready to join the latest flow of physicians toward the land of the Boers. His wife was expecting their first baby and they were both hoping for a healthy boy, to grow up in the tropical climate, away from Europe’s cold winters. The newly married couple had had enough of the geopolitical turmoil that accompanied the Cold War and divided Germany in two opposing nations. They have both decided to live in tranquility, far away from the Iron Curtain and its daily warring threats. The shortage of health professionals in the Republic of South Africa had opened new doors of professional opportunities for physicians of all nationalities. The medical community in West Germany reverberated with news about lavish colonial lifestyle and great salaries. All a qualified doctor had to do was to sign up a three-year-long contract with the authorities from Pretoria and be ready to relocate soon. The smooth flight from Munich to Johannesburg ended on the tarmac at Jan Smuts Airport. From there, a short but rough ride followed in a hunting, safari Jeep driven by Dr. Brian. Of Scottish heritage, the young South African physician had played the role of a greeting party, on behalf of Far East Rand Hospital from the gold city of Springs. The African Bush Telegraph described that wealthy town, as having more working gold mines, than practicing doctors. An enthusiastic medical brotherhood openly adopted Dr. Koch, helping him with his transition to the new professional world. A close network of multinationals taught him how to practice medicine, in the strictly segregated healthcare system under the Apartheid. For Bantu patients, local practitioners employed a fusion of modern pharmacology and traditional African remedies. By successfully using the newly learned cures, the immigrant from Hamburg was promptly nicknamed by his grateful patients, the German Healer. At the peak of his medical career, Dr. Koch became a partner in a private Bantu Practice, in the city of Johannesburg. Assigned exclusively for the black commuters from the industrial district of Jeppestown, it soon became a gold mine for the two partners. However, within a few years Dr. Koch found himself once again at the geopolitical crossroads. The unrest in the African subcontinent and the rioting in the shantytowns brought the economy to a halt. With his life at risk, after a few narrow escapes, Dr. Koch had a change of mind. He gave up the tropical heaven in exchange for a safer life, for his wife and two small boys. Joining the ensuing medical exodus from South Africa, he left the private practice to resettle in the USA. One hair-raising transatlantic flight later, put him and his wife Gretchen on the tarmac at La Guardia Airport. Lucky, as only a German Healer could be, he joined a successful private practice in one of the most dynamic industrial cities, in the subtropical paradise of Texas.

About the author

Aurel Emilian Mircea, M.D. was born in Romania, where he grew up during the Cold War. Throughout his high education and the medical school, he played jazz as a professional musician and later emigrated to Poland as an exchange student. After his second migration to South Africa, he practiced general medicine in the great city of Johannesburg. However, his final professional destination in the USA was Houston, Texas. In his retirement years he wrote his first trilogy “Let Freedom Ring,” a saga about communist oppression. Followed by a collection of short stories, exposing the communist healthcare disaster, he wrote a second trilogy “Medical Brotherhood.” It is dedicated to all the health professionals that worked with him throughout his long medical career, spreading in four countries and over three continents.

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